Even Harder to Accept

God has a plan. This concept is a tenet of the major monotheist religions, I think. And based on that everything that happens has been preordained by God to happen.

It matters not whether we understand God’s reasoning. It matters not whether we like the outcome. It matters not that a disaster has occurred in our lives. It matters not whether a great benefit has occurred in our life. It matters not whether we achieve and others do not. It matters not that others receive something that we believe is ours. The plan exists and it is good because God is good, all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-everything. It matters not if there is a belief in God.

All the bad stuff and all the good stuff is part of the plan. God’s plan. His plan. Even Parkinson’s disease is part of the plan. This part of the plan sucks. Acceptance of this part of his plan is heart breaking.

High order cognitive function impairment: She has changed. The changes are very subtle and if you have not lived with her for fifty years you might not notice the changes. I do not know if I can describe them well.

Cheryl has always been a strong and independent woman, now, she is often unsure of herself. From my perspective, this first appeared suddenly as she worked on a task she has performed through our entire married life. Suddenly after fifty years she was unable to balance the checkbook. But maybe, probably, this has been creeping up on her for a while.

That ability – to remember to jot down spendings, note the withdrawal of cash, perform the addition and subtractions – was suddenly confusing. Her notes made no sense or not as much sense to her. She panicked at first and spent long hours in her home office on the hunt for small amounts of money. She was scared.

So, we compromised. I matched the notes she made to the actual transactions that the bank recorded. I made no commentary about what things were for, just that they were there. Two transactions were recorded twice. One transaction not at all. The error was found.

Two evenings of confusion and lost sleep for $129.35. Parkinson’s sucks.

And now I’m in charge of the checkbook. Because I need to relieve the anxiety and worry that goes with once knowing and now not knowing. She is sleeping better most nights.

Logical procedures – Related to the whole checkbook fiasco are many other procedural tasks that are suddenly incomprehensible to Cheryl.

Cheryl spent a large part of her working career figuring out, manipulating, generating reports from, creating databases of various types. Our youngest son inherited the talent and makes his living at that type of work. This woman spent her early years in pursuit of a degree in mathematics. Raised our children and when they were out of the house taught school for a bit. Eventually became an independent contractor for law firms, labor unions, healthcare providers, and financial firms providing database design and support. Complicated tasks and procedures and precision coding where second nature.

And now, many of these are incomprehensible to her. This may be part of some incomprehensible plan but it is a maddeningly inane plan from this writers perspective.

Learning disabilities later in life — We all have them. “It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.” We have heard this expression before. With Parkinson’s it is hard for an old dog to produce the same tricks. Maddeningly so.

Higher order thinking and organizational thought: The high order brain function does not recognize that lower order functions are disabled or incomplete. No longer can you trust implicitly what you perceive, see, hear and feel.

Anxiety about loss of function: This is mostly from me. Cheryl can sometimes detect that she is losing some cognitive function but she often refuses to believe it. On the other hand I have noticed some diminished capacity in her performance of some tasks but I am never confident in “helping” which can be interpreted as overbearance and interference. I want to do neither but I do want to help her get past her conundrum.

My part in all of this: Its my job to be there and be there with strength. Sometimes an overwhelming sadness appears and I tear up.  Sometimes I feel real anger.  I hate to be pushed into doing things or being responsible for things that are not my idea.  I suppose that makes me human.

Taking care of Cheryl is my task but I had hoped we would be more companions rather than care-giver/receiver in our later years.

As I write this post and review and reflect on my thoughts and fears, I read a great deal. Perhaps too much. Recently I tripped over this quote from Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, he wrote, “Facts don’t matter. What matters is how you feel.”

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